SINGAPORE: The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer who pushed a full-time national serviceman into a well, drowning him, felt “betrayed” when his colleague denied asking him to give the push.
When questioned by police officers after the incident, First Warrant Officer Mohamed Farid Mohd Saleh denied asking Staff Sergeant Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood to push Corporal Kok Yuen Chin into the well.
Fatwa, 34, on Tuesday (Jul 23) took the stand for the trial against Farid, 35, for instigating the fatal push.
Fatwa, who told the court he is “not sure” if he is still with SCDF, was released from jail more than a week ago on Jul 13 for causing the death of CPL Kok, 22.
He had admitted to pushing the young man into a 12m-deep pump well at Tuas View Fire Station on May 13 last year as part of celebrations for his Operationally Ready Date gone wrong.
READ: Trial starts for man accused of asking officer to push NSF Kok Yuen Chin into well
Giving testimony as a prosecution witness, Fatwa told the court that when the men were gathered around the pump well that night, Farid told him in Malay: “Wa tolak dia.”
This means “push him, Wa”, referring to Fatwa by his nickname.
He said this at a volume that was between a whisper and regular speech, Fatwa said.
After CPL Kok had been rescued from the well, the men gathered in the engine bay at the fire station on the instructions of their rota commander.
WE SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE: FATWA
“I said to them ‘ni nak kita tanggung sama sama’, we should be responsible for what we did together,” explained Fatwa.
There was silence and no response from the other men, he said.
READ: Commander knew his men would make NSF Kok Yuen Chin enter well, court hears
When station commander Huang Weikang arrived, he asked what happened and who had pushed CPL Kok into the well.
“I raised up my hand and said I’m the one who pushed,” said Fatwa. “And after that, I told him that Farid was the one who told me to push.”
Farid appeared “stunned” when he heard this, Fatwa said.
After this, Fatwa went to the locker room, where he asked a few of the men if they had heard what Farid said to him “for assurance”, but none of them had.
He later went to the yard to be questioned by the police, along with Farid. The court was shown a video clip from body-worn cameras from the police officer, showing the interaction.
READ: Death of SCDF NSF Kok Yuen Chin: Timeline of events
An officer can be heard asking Farid: “So you give him the instruction right to push him down?”
Farid replied: “I didn’t literally like ask him to…”
“Did you or did you not?” The officer pressed.
“No,” Farid answered. “I just say, ‘so slow ah?’ That’s it.”
The two SCDF officers can be heard exchanging words in Malay, with Fatwa insisting that Farid told him to push CPL Kok into the well.
Farid then said: “I asked him to sit there.”
CPL Kok had been sitting at the edge of the well when he was pushed in.
Fatwa responded: “What, sia.”
DON’T PLAY ME OUT, FARID
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan asked Fatwa, who had served his sentence of a year and four weeks for his part in the incident, why he responded in this manner.
“In a way, what I was thinking was, he wasn’t telling … what it’s supposed to be,” said Fatwa.
READ: SCDF officer jailed over death of NSF Kok Yuen Chin
In the video, he continues telling Farid in Malay: “Just now you got say, right? Ask me (to) push him inside, correct or not, you don’t play me out, Farid.”
He said he felt betrayed in a way, by the man he had known since 2007, because Farid did not want to admit what he had said.
The trial resumes on Wednesday with the defence cross-examining Fatwa. If found guilty, Farid could be jailed for up to five years, fined, or both.
Other than Fatwa and Farid, a third officer has been jailed for a month for deleting incriminating evidence, while the trial of the two rota commanders involved will resume later this year.